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Identify True Interests


Social-Emotional Learning High School & Up Strategy

Identify True Interests

If your student is consistently strong across subjects

How To Apply It!

  1. Sometimes the strongest students struggle the most to prioritize and identify what they truly enjoy because they seem to be able to do well in many subjects and activities.
  2. First, it is important that you appreciate your true capabilities. Many bright students suffer from what is called "imposter syndrome" or the fear that they are not really as capable as they seem. This is an all-too-common this feeling. Consider discussing your feelings with a trusted adult who can help you objectively recognize your strengths and needs.
  3. While grades and achievement are important, it is equally important that you discover what you truly enjoy. Your greatest success and happiness in life are likely to come from what you enjoy doing.
  4. Consider keeping a journal to help you reflect on your interests over time. You don't need to share it with anyone, but do write down your answers. You will begin to discover what you love and what you want to work hardest for:
  5. a) Think about school assignments where your ideas were flowing and you weren't constantly looking at the time or your word count. Which subjects (or chapters within a subject) did you enjoy reading and which did you find tedious?
  6. b) After you finish a project, ask yourself: Why did I choose that topic? How did I choose to present my findings? Did I enjoy the process?
  7. c) Give yourself opportunities to stretch your interests and try new things. Websites like: DIY.org, BrainPop, and Wonderopolis are great options. Keep track of what you enjoyed (or didn't) and why.
  8. d) Write a list of your favorite books. What do these books have in common? Do the same for movies or even YouTube videos.
  9. e) Think about your extracurricular activities. What aspects did you enjoy or not enjoy?
  10. f) Reflect on day trips you have taken with family or friends. Which did you enjoy the most? The least? Why?
  11. g) When your mind wanders, make a note of what you were thinking about when you "return". Your mind is most likely to wander to what interests you the most.
  12. h) Whenever you ask yourself (or someone else) the question, "I wonder why..." write it down. You will wonder the most about things that pique your curiosity which are likely to be your strongest interests.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Research shows that your intrinsic motivation will be the greatest driver of life success, not just your grades or standardized test scores. Ultimately you will need to make choices, with adults telling you what you must or should do. Discovering your true interests and passions is not always an easy process but you are likely to enjoy the process a lot more if you keep this perspective in mind.